Stem cell therapy is a regenerative medicine procedure that uses the body’s own stem cells to promote healing and recovery. Adult stem cells have two unique characteristics that allow them to drive the body’s healing process. First, stem cells innately possess a number of regenerative and anti-inflammatory properties, which work together to promote healing and drive recovery. Second, and most importantly, they are what is known as an undifferentiated cell, meaning they have the unique ability to “grow” into a variety of different tissues, from muscles to nerves to cartilage. This allows a stem cell treatment to differentiate or grow into the type of cell that is needed at the site of injury to drive recovery.
Adipose-Derived Stem Cells vs. BMAC
There are two principal forms of stem cell therapy, both of which strive to harvest and re-inject autologous mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs): adipose-derived stem cell therapy and bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC) therapy. The key difference between these two procedures is the site from which the stem cells are harvested. In adipose-derived stem cell therapy, MSCs are harvested from the adipose or fat tissue, while bone marrow aspirate concentrate, as the name suggests, is drawn from the gel-like bone marrow that resides at the center of most of the bones of the body. Once stem cells have been extracted from the body, the steps taken to process and inject them back into the patient is largely the same in both procedures.
The Regenexx Process
Once the stem cells have been withdrawn from the body, they are processed using special, proprietary lab equipment and techniques to concentrate and purify the stem cells and to remove any additional cells from the sample that are not needed for the injection or that would impact the stem cells ability to promote healing. One aspect of the Regenexx Family of Procedures that sets them apart from other treatments is that the stem cell procedure is almost always performed with one or more accompanying platelet injections, which releases growth factors that help trigger the stem cells to begin the differentiation process. This platelet injection is generally repeated three to five days later to ensure the stem cells stay activated and to promote additional healing.
During the injection, it is critically important to ensure that the stem cells are being deposited precisely where they are needed. Even if you have the best stem cells in the world, calibrated to the ideal concentrations for your injury, they will be wholly useless if your physician delivers them to the wrong site. A qualified regenerative medicine physician will never, ever try to inject stem cells “blind,” or without imaging guidance. Some of the sites to which we commonly deliver stem cells are mere millimeters large, so they can easily be misplaced even under imaging guidance!
That is why Precision Delivery is so important to us here at RestorePDX. We use advanced imaging techniques, including ultrasound imaging and fluoroscopy, to deliver our Regenexx stem cell injections exactly where they are needed for maximum efficacy. Precision Delivery takes time, care, patience, planning, and expertise, a commitment RestorePDX makes to each and every one of its patients.
The outcome of a stem cell treatment depends on a variety of factors, including the severity of your injury, your overall health and immune status, and the specifics of the procedure itself. However, physicians in the Regenexx network track and follow every patient treated with the Regenexx stem cell treatment using a proprietary database. This data, in turn, informs many of the ongoing research efforts underway around the world to better understand this revolutionary procedure. The Regenexx data largely supports what we have seen first hand: for many patients, stem cell treatments are a safe and effective procedure to reduce pain and improve function.
There is a constantly expanding body of evidence to suggest that regenerative medicine can help promote healing and recovery from acute and/or chronic musculoskeletal disorders. And regenerative medicine can be used from head to toe, so anyone suffering from pain, weakness, or disability caused by an orthopedic injury or disorder could be a candidate for one of these revolutionary procedures. Some of the conditions that could benefit from regenerative medicine procedures include ligament and tendon strains, sprains, and tears; tendonosis; bursitis; plantar fasciitis; arthritis; and a wide range of spinal disorders, including degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, and impingements.